White House opens doors to Iraq refugees
By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer
by David Millikin Wed Feb 14,
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States plans to take in some 7,000 Iraqi refugees by October, more than a tenfold increase in the number of Iraqi asylum seekers admitted since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, a senior US official said.
Washington had been under fire for its response to the mounting refugee crisis which has seen two million Iraqis flee their war-ravaged nation and another nearly two million displaced inside the country.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack revealed the decision to allow another 7,000 Iraqis into the United States after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed the crisis here with Antonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
McCormack described the figure of 7,000 as a “target” and not a ceiling for the number of Iraqis who will be allowed into the country.